What is Factoring Receivables?

Factoring receivables is a financial service that enables businesses to sell their accounts receivable (invoices) to a third-party factoring company at a discount. This process provides immediate cash flow to the business, improving liquidity and allowing it to meet ongoing operational expenses. Here’s a detailed explanation of factoring receivables:


What is Factoring Receivables?

Factoring receivables is a financial arrangement where a business sells its outstanding invoices to a factoring company (factor) at a discounted rate. The factor then assumes the responsibility for collecting payments from the business’s customers. This service is especially beneficial for businesses that have lengthy payment terms and need quicker access to cash.


How Factoring Receivables Works

  1. Issuing Invoices:
    • The business delivers goods or services to its customers and issues invoices with specified payment terms.
  2. Selling Invoices:
    • The business sells these invoices to a factoring company. The factor typically advances a percentage of the invoice value upfront, usually between 70% and 90%.
  3. Immediate Cash Flow:
    • The business receives immediate cash, which can be used to cover various expenses such as payroll, inventory, and other operational costs.
  4. Collection Process:
    • The factoring company takes over the responsibility of collecting payments from the customers. They manage the accounts receivable and follow up on payments.
  5. Final Settlement:
    • Once the customers pay the invoices, the factor remits the remaining balance to the business, minus the factoring fee.


Types of Factoring

  1. Recourse Factoring:
    • In this type, the business retains the risk of non-payment. If the customer fails to pay the invoice, the business must reimburse the factor or replace the invoice with another one.
  2. Non-Recourse Factoring:
    • Here, the factor assumes the risk of non-payment. If the customer defaults, the factor absorbs the loss. This type typically comes with higher fees due to the added risk for the factor.
  3. Disclosed Factoring:
    • The customer is aware that their invoice has been sold to a factoring company and that payments should be made directly to the factor.
  4. Confidential Factoring:
    • The customer is unaware of the factoring arrangement and continues to pay the business, which then forwards the payments to the factor.


Benefits of Factoring Receivables

  1. Improved Cash Flow:
    • Factoring provides immediate access to funds that would otherwise be tied up in receivables, helping businesses maintain a healthy cash flow.
  2. Outsourced Collections:
    • The factor handles the collections process, saving the business time and resources that can be better spent on core activities.
  3. Risk Mitigation:
    • Non-recourse factoring transfers the risk of bad debts to the factor, protecting the business from potential financial losses.
  4. Enhanced Growth:
    • With improved cash flow, businesses can invest in growth opportunities, such as expanding operations, hiring additional staff, or increasing inventory.
  5. No Additional Debt:
    • Factoring is not a loan; it does not add to the business’s debt burden. Instead, it leverages existing assets (receivables) to generate cash.



  1. Cost:
    • Factoring fees can be higher than traditional financing options. Businesses should evaluate whether the benefits of improved cash flow outweigh the costs.
  2. Customer Relations:
    • Some customers may view the involvement of a factoring company negatively. However, reputable factors manage collections professionally to maintain good customer relationships.
  3. Quality of Receivables:
    • Factors assess the quality and creditworthiness of the business’s receivables before agreeing to purchase them. High-quality receivables are essential for securing favorable terms.


Example of Factoring Receivables

Suppose a business sells an invoice worth £20,000 to a factoring company with an advance rate of 85% and a factoring fee of 2%. The process would look like this:

  • Advance Amount: £20,000 × 0.85 = £17,000
  • Factoring Fee: £20,000 × 0.02 = £400

Upon collection of the invoice, the factor pays the remaining balance after deducting the factoring fee:

  • Remaining Balance: £20,000 – £17,000 – £400 = £2,600



Factoring receivables is a powerful financial tool for UK businesses seeking to improve cash flow, manage risks, and focus on growth. By selling their invoices to a factoring company, businesses can quickly access funds needed to cover operational expenses and seize new opportunities. While factoring comes with costs, the benefits of enhanced liquidity and outsourced collections often make it a valuable solution for many companies.